Want to gain greater brand exposure and tons of new leads without spending a single cent on paid ads?
Before you shake your head and dismiss the idea as impossible, consider the proof.
On January 15, Shutterstock posted its yearly creative trends infographic. Take a look.
The infographic is filled to the brim with technicolor images, trendy music, and stunning video clips. It’s so awesome it garnered:
- 54 backlinks
- 4,194 social shares
- 10,900 total engagements
- All in only four months!
So, what did Shutterstock pay for this huge brand exposure?
Not a cent.
All they did was create this brilliant piece of content and publish it for the world to see.
The great news? You can achieve their stunning success too.
All you need boils down to two words: content marketing.
Let’s explore how it’s done!
The 5 Ws & 1H of Content Marketing
These six elements explain the basics of successful content marketing.
W #1: The What – What Is Content Marketing?
Here’s a quick definition of content marketing:
“Content marketing is strategic marketing based on the creation and distribution of relevant content focused on improving users’ lives. Its ultimate goals are to position a brand as an authority, gain trust, and drive profitable user action.”
As an example, look at this email from Ramit Sethi.
The email provides a link to a free 30-minute masterclass.
It’s not selling anything. It’s not a paid ad.
But it does three things:
- It teaches people how to write an outstanding email.
- It promotes brand awareness.
- It sets Ramit Sethi up as an authority in the industry.
Users who watch and love the masterclass are one step closer to buying Ramit’s products.
That’s how awesome content marketing is done!
W #2: The Why – Why Do Content Marketing?
But why should you do content marketing instead of spending on ads?
If you own a large company with a ton of resources, won’t you get better results from paying for promotions?
The surprising answer is no.
- Educational content makes consumers 131% more likely to buy.
- 47% of people use an ad blocker.
- Content marketing generates 3x more leads than traditional marketing.
Plus, people nowadays don’t want to feel “sold” or “closed.”
They want to gather information, enjoy free value, and then choose the brand that gives them the most meaningful experience.
W #3: The Where – Where to Do Content Marketing
The #1 place to do content marketing is on your own website.
Because your website is your very own content house.
No matter what happens, you’re the one in control of it.
But there are other platforms where you can publish and promote your content. These include:
- Blogs of well-known influencers (guest posting)
- Social media
A healthy combination of these is the secret to content marketing success.
W #4: The Who – Who to Target with Content Marketing
Content marketing isn’t about creating and publishing post after post, hoping someone will see what you’re doing and take action.
It’s about knowing exactly who you’re writing to and creating content that’ll make their lives better.
Take this email from Rori Raye’s Have the Relationship You Want as an example.
This email works because it targets a specific person: a woman who’s brokenhearted and confused over her relationship.
It’s not for:
- Women in happy relationships
Sending it to them would be nothing but a huge waste of time.
Also, penning a generic piece of content meant to appeal to everyone will end up appealing to no one.
So, discover what your target audience needs and start crafting content that’ll change their lives in deep, meaningful ways.
W #5: The When – When to Do Content Marketing
When should you do content marketing?
All the time!
The key with this type of marketing is consistency.
You can’t sit down to write an inspiring piece of content, publish it, and then let your blog stagnate for the next two months.
What you should do is create a schedule and stick to it at all costs.
So, how often should you post on your blog?
The more the better!
Here’s a chart from Orbit Media to guide you.
H: The How – Best Practices for Content Marketing
Follow this step-by-step guide to a successful content marketing campaign.
Step 1: Know Your Audience
Before you create even a single piece of content, you need to answer three questions.
- Who is your audience and what are their pain points?
- How can you help them?
- What kind of content will best appeal to them?
Answering these questions will keep your content focused and relevant.
Step 2: Decide on Your Content Marketing Goals
The next question you should ask yourself is, “What’s the ultimate goal of my content marketing campaign?”
Actually, you can have more than one goal. You can use content marketing to:
- Increase traffic to your site
- Increase revenue
- Gain trust
- Set yourself up as an authority in your industry
Know your goals before you start creating content, and be sure to attach KPIs to your content pieces to measure your success.
Step 3: Figure Out Which Content Types You’ll Create
The number one content type you need is a blog.
Your blog works as the core of your content marketing campaign.
Publish two or more blog posts per week, making sure they’re relevant, actionable, valuable, and shareable.
Besides your blog, here are five great types of content you can add to your campaign:
Step 4: Create a Content Calendar
A content calendar helps you stay on track with relevant and timely pieces of content.
Step 5: Start Creating Content!
Remember, quality is the number one goal to aim for with every piece of content you publish.
The 5 Ws & 1 H of Awesome Content Marketing
You don’t need big bucks to get your brand front and center in the minds of your audience.
In fact, expensive paid advertising is no longer bringing in the results it used to.
People don’t want to feel sold. They invest in ad blockers, skip TV commercials, and ignore direct mail.
So, what do they want?
They want to feel powerful. They want to be in control.
They want to make decisions based on the value a brand gives them.
The great news is you can give them all these through successful content marketing.
All screenshots taken by author, April 2020